What Is Geothermal Heating Learn More About Using A Geothermal Heat Pump

What Is Geothermal Heating? – Learn More About Using A Geothermal Heat Pump

By: - Home Improvement - November 30, 2011
what is geothermal heating learn more about using a geothermal heat pump

Depending on where you live, you may have heard about geothermal heating or cooling, but you probably were thinking “what is geothermal heating?” At its simplest, geothermal heating and cooling is a type of system that heats your home or office with a specific type of heat…the heat that comes naturally from the earth.

There are a lot of ways to heat and cool our homes and offices, but many of them are non-renewable. This means that once these energy sources are gone, they are gone forever. Some of these non-renewable resources are coal, oil and natural gas. There are some resources, however, that are renewable and will last forever. Some of these are familiar, like wind power or hydropower, but unless you live in certain areas of the US, you may have never heard of geothermal heating before, which is also a renewable resource.  The more we learn to use renewable resources such as these, the less dependent we will be on the non renewable ones which will soon be gone forever. Now when you think about the questions “what is geothermal heating?”, you can say the answer is heat that comes from the earth that is renewable and will last forever. Geothermal energy is one of the only types of energy that has zero pollution as well, so you can add that to your answer as well.

One of the ways that geothermal energy is used by individuals is by heating homes and other buildings. In order to heat these buildings you will need a geothermal heat pump in order to get the heat. A geothermal heat pump uses the temperature of the earth underground in order to heat buildings. The temperature of the earth is almost constant which makes it very easy to use as a catalyst to make heat for your home.

Also known as ground source heat pumps, a geothermal heat pump can have a series of open or closed loops which can be installed in one of three ways. They can go vertically, horizontally or in a small body of water, like a pond. The choice of loop will largely depend on the area where the installation of the pump will be done. Usually one choice will stick out as more economical that the others.

The closed loop system of a geothermal pump will push water or a liquid solution, like antifreeze through a series of plastic pipes that are installed under the grounds surface. During the winter time months, where it is cold, this liquid will pull the intense heat of the earth into itself and transport it through a building which will warm up naturally due to the water going through the walls. In the summer, the system reverses and pulls heat from the building and putting it back into the ground where the process is started all over again. In the summer, you are basically getting free hot water and very substantial hot water savings in the winter.

The open loop system is almost identical to the closed loop, but the water is pulled from a well or other body of water and sent through a heat exchanger which will get it to the right temperature to send through the loops.

Now that you know the answer to “what is geothermal heating?” and you like the sound of what it can do for your home, you may want to consider installing a system in your own home. It is very important that you realize, though there are definitely huge benefits to geothermal energy use in your home, the installation is very expensive. One average it is about $15,000 in the US for an average home. Though this is a bit overwhelming, in just four years, on average, if you currently have electric heating, you will be paying yourself back due to the saving you are getting with geothermal heating. For natural gas it is a bit longer at twelve years and for heating oil, it is five years.  You also may be eligible for state and federal subsidies that can help pay for these systems which can bring the cost down significantly. Make sure you do your research and compare costs among several companies before choosing one.

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